Households can apply for £5,000 grants to upgrade boilers and cut energy bills from TODAY04/01/2022
HOMEOWNERS can access free cash from today to replace gas boilers with more environmentally-friendly heat pumps.
You could get grants worth up to £5,000 to move to greener energy sources, which could also help cut your gas and electricity bill.
Most homes use boilers for their heating that mainly rely on gas.
Government data suggests around 14% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy use in the home.
The government is aiming to reduce this by banning gas boilers by 2035.
This forms part of its strategy to move towards a net zero carbon emissions economy by 2050.
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One alternative is heat pumps, which provide a greener way to heat your home – and at a lower cost too.
But they have historically been expensive to purchase and install.
The government has a commitment to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 and has launched a £450million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to fund the changes and cover the costs of installation.
This could be beneficial to homeowners who are set to see their energy bills rise further from tomorrow when the price cap increases.
There are also fears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could impact gas supply and push prices up even more.
Jess Ralston, senior analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The Boiler Upgrade Scheme has huge potential to deliver both hundreds of pounds of bill savings to families every year and energy security from volatile gas prices being influenced by Russia.
"One in three people say they are more likely to get an electric heat pump to shield us from Putin’s influence."
Here is what you need to know.
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What is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme?
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is a £450million fund that will give grants to homeowners in England and Wales to purchase heat pumps.
You will be able to apply for £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump or biomass boiler.
Homeowners could also get £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump.
In total it is expected to fund 90,000 installations and will run until end of March 2025.
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse.
They take in heat from the air outside, even when it is cold, and use it to warm a liquid refrigerant to turn it into a gas.
This is then compressed and transferred to a central heating system to warm radiators.
They heat your home at a lower temperature than gas and oil boilers, which could reduce your energy bills at a time when they are reaching record highs.
How does a heat pump work?
There are two types of air-source heat pumps, air-to-water systems and air-to-air systems.
Unlike gas boilers, heat pumps work on electricity and need less energy to operate.
This means lower emissions and hopefully cheaper bills as you won't be using as much energy.
Typically for every one unit of heat in, you get three out, according tothe ECIU.
In contrast, for a typical gas boiler, for every one unit of heat in, you get less than one out.
This means that overall, more than three times less energy is needed to operate a heat pump compared with a boiler.
How much do heat pumps cost?
The cost of a heat pump has previously been a barrier.
While homeowners can purchase boilers from between £500 to £1,500, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that a heat pump can cost £6,000 to £8,000.
The grants should, therefore, help cover a big chunk of this.
You will need to pay the difference if the pump costs more than the grant but the idea is to get the amount closer to what you would pay when installing a gas boiler.
The ECIU said installation costs could also be lower after the government scrapped VAT on energy efficiency measures in the Spring Statement last week.
Who can access heat pump grants?
The scheme is only open to domestic properties in England and Wales until 2025.
The property will need to have enough power to support an installation capacity of 45kWth or kilowatt thermal, which covers most homes.
Additionally, your home will also need a valid energy performance certificate with no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation, unless you are exempt.
How do you apply for a heat pump grant?
You don't apply for the scheme yourself.
Instead, you will need to find an MSC-certified installer to claim the grant on your behalf.
MSC is the certification scheme for energy efficiency product installers and you can the nearest ones to you on the MSC website.
It may be worth getting a few quotes to compare.
The installer will advise whether a low carbon heating system is suitable for your property and if you can get the grant.
Once you agree a price, the installer will apply for the grant and you will then be contacted by Ofgem to confirm that the work is being done on your behalf.
You can start getting quotes from today and your installer can then register with Ofgem on April 11.
From May 23, the scheme will open to applications and payments.
This isn't the only energy efficiency support available.
Councils have in the past offered green home grants, although none do currently.
Mortgage lenders are also rewarding people for making energy improvements to their home.
Halifax is offerings £1,000 cashback on its mortgage products that can go towards a heat pump.
All domestic energy users will also get a £200 rebate on their bill in October.
This needs to be paid back from April 2023 at £40 per year for five years.
It is also worth checking with your local council for household support grants.
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Check if you are missing any benefits such as the Warm Home Discount – which gives you £140 off energy bills.
People on certain benefits can also get Cold Weather Payments of £25 a year when the temperature drops.
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